Every day, shoppers carry tens of millions of mobile devices into brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers know they should deliver great experiences for their shoppers to use on mobile devices in-store, yet most lack the data on what shoppers really want in this regard. For this reason, DMI recently published its second annual Mobile In-Store Experience Shopper Survey & Rankings report. The company surveyed 2,500 U.S. shoppers to understand behaviors and preferences, then armed undercover shoppers with its proprietary Mobile Maturity Model (M3) and sent them into 120 of America’s top retailers to assess the mobile experiences those retailers offer to customers.
The research discovered that 39 percent of U.S. shoppers use branded apps regularly or every time they shop in-store, and 41 percent use third-party shopping apps with the same frequency. Clearly, retailers need to start paying closer attention to this aspect of the customer experience.
Retailers could score a maximum of 240 points. This year’s highest scorer, Home Depot, received 131 points — only slightly more than 50 percent of possible points, but 20 points higher than last year’s top score. This year’s average score was 49 points, up five points from 2015. There's still a large gap between shopper expectations and the experiences retailers are delivering.
Last year’s survey revealed a highly desirable shopper segment that places great value on the mobile in-store experience: the "Mobile Reliants." This year, 33 percent of all in-store shoppers fit this profile. They have three or more mobile shopping applications on their devices, use their device “a lot” or “all day,” and regularly or always use their device while shopping in-store. They're 30 percent more likely to have a $150,000-plus household income than the general population.
What This Means for Retailers
Survey respondents ranked these as the five most desired features of a mobile app used in-store:
- The ability to see store-specific promotions
- Anytime access to rewards balance
- Instantly check an item’s price and inventory availability by scanning, taking a picture or tapping the item
- Receiving an alert when something that takes significant time to prepare is ready — e.g., a prescription, deli meats, eyeglasses, clothing alterations
- Checking out via a mobile device to avoid waiting in line
Retailers that build these elements into a mobile strategy are likely to meet or exceed customers’ expectations, creating a positive experience that will keep them coming back.
Shoppers are eager for mobile experiences designed specifically for the context of in-store shopping. Eighty percent of consumers at large and 91 percent of Mobile Reliants say such apps would improve the in-store shopping experience. Seventy-four percent of the general population and 88 percent of Mobile Reliants would be more likely to shop in a store offering a specific in-store mobile experience.
The assessments reveal that retailers are beginning to improve the mobile experiences they deliver to customers, but the industry still has a lot of work to do to measure up to in-store shopper expectations. Now is the time to take advantage of the millions of devices walking through your doors every day and create a mobile in-store strategy that delivers what customers want.
Jeremy Gilman is senior vice president of strategy for DMI, a global, end-to-end mobility services company.
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